Sailing into an office romance

Courtesy of NBC
Courtesy of NBC

I’ve pretty much scavenged the depths of the Atlantic Ocean and the craters of the moon in search of a romantic relationship. Still. No. Luck. Fishing for a partner can be a tough and strenuous struggle. For those of you still on the boat praying to find your prized catch at the parties and clubs, it might be best to bring your ship back to shore and start baiting your hook elsewhere. You might just happen to sail into smoother waters by taking the plunge into… say, an office romance? Before you go on tossing the idea of finding love at the workplace back into the vast sea of options, consider both the pros and cons.

Working with someone for an extended period of time allows you to learn a lot about how one thinks and behaves. You may see how one manages stress and treats others. You can safely observe one — be careful not to start creeping as I often do — and interact with them in the work environment before considering an actual relationship with them. Try to spend time with your possible love interest outside of the office as well, that way you can gauge their personality in an informal setting.

An important factor to be aware of before you reel in your lucky catch is whether or not the prospect is single. You might be surprised to learn that 20 percent of office daters found that at least one person in the relationship was married, according to a survey conducted by Harris Poll on careerbuilder.com.

Now that you are certain that you’ve got your eye on a single partner, check the company handbook before you proceed on collecting your catch. Some companies may have strict policies about office romances. Ensure that personal relationships in the workplace fall under office regulations, so you can finally leap away from the professional relationship. You will most likely be required to inform your supervisor or manager, but you may not want your co-workers to know right away if you don’t want your latest relationship to be the topic of office gossip.

Third-year business administration major Jeffrey Ren reflects on his experience as he “tried (his) best not to make it awkward with (his) other co-workers by not showing any public displays of affection around the building.” “I always thought the idea of dating in staff was pretty awkward, but (Jeffrey and his girlfriend) did pretty well at keeping it to themselves and not letting it interfere in the workplace,” second-year political science major and fellow co-worker Elias Fakhoury explained.

This brings us to our next point: keep your work life separate from your personal life. During business hours, work always comes first. Basically, avoid being all “lovey-dovey” in the office. Definitely do not involve your co-workers in personal conflicts with your partner either. How many times do you cross paths with your colleagues a day? Now think about how awkward it would be if they chose your partner’s side over an issue. Yeah, let’s avoid those rough waters.

Perhaps it would also be clever to consider the worst-case scenario before sailing into the deeper reaches of the sea. Relationships don’t always work out, and you might have to prepare for that if your office romance ends badly. Another survey revealed that seven percent of workers have left their jobs as a result of an office romance gone bad. There is always the chance that one of you will be able to transfer to a different location or department of the business. Ideally, the both of you would end on good terms though, and would be comfortable working together post-relationship.

Finding love in the office isn’t necessarily the first place or the best place to start dipping your fishing rod into, but it’s not uncommon to find a lasting, romantic relationship with a fellow colleague either. Don’t be so quick to toss that fish back into the sea the next time you’re sensing a budding office romance, just make sure you’ve checked that there are no leaks on your vessel before you sail out.

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